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Saddam trial lawyer's assistant found murdered

[JURIST] Defense lawyer Badih Aref Izzat, representing a co-defendant in Saddam Hussein's trial [JURIST news archive], announced Thursday that his assistant had been found murdered in Baghdad. Abdel Monem Yassin Hussein is said to have been kidnapped on August 29 and was found five days later in a hospital morgue with three gunshot wounds. Izzat is defending intelligence officer Farhan Al Juburi, on trial along with Hussein and five other co-defendants, on genocide and crimes against humanities charges [JURIST report] in connection with the so-called "Anfal" operation [HRW backgrounder] that led to the killings of as many as 180,000 Kurds in northern Iraq in the 1980s. The death follows a July hunger strike [JURIST report] by Hussein in protest at the earlier murder of three defense lawyers [JURIST report]. His defense team has already boycotted proceedings [JURIST report] to dramatize their call for greater security measures.

Hussein and his seven co-defendants are also charged with crimes against humanity [JURIST report] for allegedly killing, torturing and illegally detaining Dujail residents, as well as committing other inhumane acts, in response to an alleged 1982 assassination attempt on Hussein. The Iraqi High Tribunal is set to deliver a verdict on the Dujail charges on October 16, and Hussein is eligible for the death penalty [JURIST report]. Chief Judge Abdullah al-Amiri [JURIST report] has adjourned proceedings [JURIST report] until September 11, allowing time for the defense to file an appeal challenging the court's legitimacy. AFP has more.

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